[quote=@zannster]I sent a PM to Kaki, but I’ll pose this here as well…
There are a couple of draws for me, for the north side. One, more restaurants are listed. Between Sosua and Cabarete, there are a ton of tasty-sounding places. I don’t get that from what I’ve read about the Bayahibe area, though as you said, not as much is listed. I might go south even with this element unknown. Maybe the food near the beach would keep me happy.
Two, I’d like to go to Ocean World (particularly to do a dolphin encounter), and I’m sure my son would love it. If there’s a good place to wade around with dolphins near Bayahibe, that might help sway me.
And third - while I haven’t completely figured out the layout there yet, it seems kind of spread out. In Sosua, it looks as though you can walk to almost everything; most of the hotels and restaurants are within a span of maybe half a kilometer. I don’t want to rent a car if I can help it.
What do you think?[/quote]
You really are forging new territory to be one who visits the non AI properties of Bayahibe, eats in the village, explores the area AND comes to Debbie’s or other places to review your experience for future travelers or to post on your experience. Again, very few people visit the area in general if only because there are dozens of resorts from Puerto Plata to Samana, and dozens in the Punta Cana area with a few new ones opening each year. As I said, there are about 6 that people visit in the “La Romana” area which just plain ol’ doesn’t translate to big numbers. Most people at these forums and where reports are posted tend to go the AI route, leaving for a meal at a well publicized restaurant or to meet for drinks at the famous local watering holes. Even though a lot of people do that in Bayahibe, again, they just don’t talk about it in the places where you might be doing your research. I’ve met a lot of people through this forum but it very quickly moves to PM and e-mails, we meet, we hang out, and then we stay friends for years after but they don’t come back after their vacation to post comments on their stay.
I understand the desire to read reviews and feel like you’re visiting a hot spot that is well recommended and if that’s what you want, absolutely the north coast will give you that. I haven’t dined at all, but I can tell you that there’s a lot of selection in Bayahibe whether people talk about it or not.
All along the one street called Bahia that goes along the water, there’s Barco Bar and Cafe:
and La Bahia:
and Mare Nostrum:
and La Punta:
and La Jungla:
and Bamboo Grill:
and Cafecito de la Cubana:
The place under the big tree is one of those which serves home cooking, no frills:
and there are lots of them, this being another:
Leaving the village by 100 feet toward the Bayahibe Beach, there is a string of little establishments like this:
which is in the area of trees just beyond the boats here:
Again, I haven’t tried them all and can’t recommend them but there’s no shortage of meal options in this tiny village.
There is no option similar to Ocean World anywhere in the country other than Ocean World. If that’s a big thing for you (I don’t blame you!), you’ll only find it in the north. Dolphins are regularly seen in the waters of the Bayahibe Bay but they’re there of their own volition and you can’t be guaranteed to see them, let alone swim with them!
Bayahibe isn’t really all that large at all. You need some perspective to have it make sense, but you can see on this Google Earth image the whole of Bayahibe and the Sunscape resort.
To walk from the resort to Bayahibe takes 10 minutes in a stroll. You can see the point, and then the bay along which runs the road with all of the listed restaurants. If you’re interested, I have a zoomed image of Bayahibe which I have marked to show where a few of the restaurants are and the main colmado, the bus stop to get to Dominicus and La Romana, Villa Iguana, etc. Send me a note if you’d like me to send it to you. email@example.com It would depend on what you’d want to see or do that would determine whether you’d need to rent a car. For Bayahibe, it’s absolutely not necessary. To get to the public beach in Dominicus, you can easily take the gua gua for the 10 minute drive, or a cab. To go to La Romana you can again take the gua gua, and if you were to go to the Jumbo or were to buy things, you could just take a cab back. If you do any excursions, you will be collected in Bayahibe.
If you like the idea of a tried and true location with restaurants that many people have recommended near swimming with the dolphins, you may be happier up north for this trip. If the beautiful calm clear water with easy snorkeling and being an explorer sounds appealing, give Bayahibe a try. If you do Sosua now, you can do Bayahibe another time!